Charles Johnson injured a muscle in his neck and shoulder area and did not practice Monday, though Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera still expects him to play Thursday against the Steelers.
The ninth-year defensive end had dealt with a sore calf for most of the preseason. He practiced Sunday and had the injury to his trapezius before Monday’s practice.
Rivera reiterated Monday that he doesn’t want Johnson’s first extended playing time to come in Week 1 in Jacksonville. By holding him out of practice Monday, the Panthers believe they’ll be saving Johnson so he can play Thursday.
Defensive end Mario Addison had a stomach bug and did not practice. Veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery (groin) is on track to play in Week 1, Rivera said.
Starting right tackle Mike Remmers continued to take first-team center reps with Ryan Kalil (knee) and backup Brian Folkerts (ankle) sidelined. Rookie Daryl Williams took first-team reps at right tackle.
Cornerback Lou Young bounced back nicely from a hamstring injury that sidelined him most of the preseason with two pass breakups Monday.